It’s Saturday and while many of my peers are off currently getting drunk off of mimosas and girding themselves with tasty Hollandaise sauce-covered delights, I’m here with you. And we’re grinding HARD on this surprisingly great weekend NBA slate with a ton of interesting matchups and unique shots at value when making your daily fantasy lineups tonight.
As always much like a fine wine, the Switch and Hedge pairs best with Awesemo’s rankings, Slam Dunks, and ownership projections to understand all the options and make a fully functional lineup. But now let’s get onto my game breakdowns and, spoiler alert, you should be emotionally prepared to love a lot of guys tonight.
Chicago Bulls (99 implied points, down 5.5 points on their last 10 games) at Detroit Pistons (111.5 implied points, up 11.5 points on their last 10 games)
My two favorite recent Bulls plays, Cameron Payne and Denzel Valentine, both did their jobs at low ownership versus the Bucks last night and Valentine in particular seemed aided by Lauri Markkanen’s return and Antonio Blakeney’s absence seeing over 30 minutes with his recent usage. Both guys looked much better without Blakeney siphoning minutes and, despite the slightly down total, I like both guys to do the same tonight, particularly since they’ve both looked good in limited minutes versus Detroit previously and played with the game out of hand yesterday versus Milwaukee. Markkanen would get his full run of minutes, around 28, if the game stays competitive into the fourth quarter, but his usage was way down coming off injury so I’d avoid him for now. Cristiano Felicio continued his run last night and he’s at a price where he could keep it going and have a ton of value upside. People may avoid Felicio, Valentine, and Payne due to the blowout risk but all of those guys have played into the fourth with the game out of hand lately given all of the injuries so that may not be a concern with those three.
The Pistons may very well blow out the Bulls though, so that comes with some risk. There’s no reason that Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond shouldn’t do what they want, though Blake has taken more shots and even rebounded a little en route to three straight 50 DK point games. Ish Smith has continue his solid run with Reggie Jackson back in the starting lineup though he could lose a few very necessary minutes if the game did get out of hand. Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard would have more interest than Stanley Johnson since their minutes are far more secure; Bullock is more boom-bust while Kennard’s price means he doesn’t have to do a lot to really exceed value like he has lately.
Phoenix Suns (106 implied points, up 4 points on their last 10 games) at Orlando Magic (112 points, up 16.8 [!!] points on their last 10 games)
This is the kind of game I love, two crappy teams who play at top 10 paces, meaning there’s going to be a ton of value to go around and this total might somehow not be high enough. Josh Jackson hasn’t played as well with TJ Warren and Devin Booker out, the result of team defenses keying on him and some decreased minutes in a blowout last night, but that likely won’t be an issue in this matchup with Orlando. He still has big upside despite his price being so high. If Booker is out again, lock in Troy Daniels. He’s crushed value in games where Booker’s been out and he’s so insanely cheap industrywide. Alex Len didn’t pick up the start versus Cleveland and only got his 25 minutes due to the blowout. He should have to start tonight versus Nikola Vucevic, making him a more interesting play while making Marquese Chriss moderately less interesting. His minutes went up big time last game but his usage is higher off the bench; either way, he’s playable in a game like this and is one of few A values on Awesemo’s rankings today. Elfrid Payton’s return for Orlando may have some revenge game appeal but he’s impossible to trust based upon recent performances.
Aaron Gordon got a bunch of shots up versus Philadelphia before that game got away from them and I’m definitely looking his way tonight too. The matchup seems like a great one for him and he’s priced to have big upside. Nikola Vucevic could also be in a rebound spot as long as this game stays competitive and his price has dropped to a perfect spot for him where he also could have big upside; he’s the only player to have an A both in value and fantasy points in Awesemo’s rankings today. DJ Augustin would be nice a little cheaper but he can definitely do some things for you in this matchup, as can Shelvin Mack. Mario Hezonja let some sharp people down versus Washington with him starting for Evan Fournier. He can recover today but it almost feels like he needs Fournier, Gordon and Simmons out now to fully realize his potential. Wes Iwundu got almost 30 minutes starting for Simmons last game and, while his usage was extremely low, he did a good job racking up stats to hit value. For an ungodly cheap play versus a very bad team, he should safely get 25 minutes and that can pay off big time…relatively speaking.
Los Angeles Lakers (110.75 implied points, up 0.3 points on their last 10 games) at Memphis Grizzlies (106.25 implied points, up 8.3 points on their last 10 games)
Isaiah Thomas is out for a few games and there isn’t enough data to easily pinpoint a true beneficiary. I anticipate more of a slight usage increase for all the Lakers. The usage should benefit Lonzo Ball the most; if a few extra shots of his fall, he can destroy value with how easily he racks up peripherals, over a 30% assist rate with IT off the floor. Julius Randle becomes the highest usage player on the floor with Thomas off and Brook Lopez also gets a little more too. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had a big game last time out and he got there only because he set a career high in threes, actually in the first quarter:
🎥 KCP caught fire tonight, finishing with a team-high 28 points after shooting a perfect 5-5 from behind the arc in the first quarter. pic.twitter.com/LOPyEnPJkk
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) March 23, 2018
That said, his usage was exactly in line with where he’s been and, without an on-paper boost of note with IT out, his rising price indicates a limited upside to me. Similarly, Kyle Kuzma should continue his run of steadily hitting value but he should end up highly owned again and the other Lakers seem more compelling for that reason. Kuzma is a B in both value and fantasy points in Awesemo’s rankings but there are also other ways to go to differentiate your lineup.
The assumption is that Marc Gasol will be in for the Grizzlies, with Tyreke Evans ruled out right after I initially published this. Andrew Harrison will get a boost with Evans out, assuming Harrison is active with his own wrist injury. The Lakers have allowed increased performance to power forwards and, given the pace-up, JaMychal Green can be worth a look. Dillon Brooks is completely points dependent but his usage should be there without Evans on the floor. He’s got upside in the matchup but with an equal amount of risk since, again, all he does is get points. Jarell Martin’s price has come down, resulting in an A grade in Awesemo’s rankings for value, and he gets extra usage if the game blows out. Wayne Selden is in a similar spot and has been a consistent performer lately so he may be an interesting low-owned punt.
New Orleans Pelicans (108 implied points, down 1.5 points on their last 10 games) at Houston Rockets (116.5 implied points, up 6.2 points on their last 10 games)
Rajon Rondo will be out for the Pelicans and Jrue Holiday plugs in most obviously as the biggest beneficiary. He’s played well versus Houston this year and has the primary ballhandler can do a ton more initiating the offense to rack up stats. Anthony Davis will also see additional usage and surprisingly has played better with Rondo off the floor on a per-minute basis. Ian Clark will also get a boost with Rondo out and has played well while getting a ton of usage lately. Nikola Mirotic is currently questionable; if he plays, he should also pick up some of Rondo’s trickle-down and if he sits, Cheick Diallo and Emeka Okafor should get a boost to steal a few extra minutes but not with any sort of points security.
The Rockets are likely to be without Chris Paul, currently questionable but expected not to play. James Harden is the most obvious beneficiary, Eric Gordon also but slightly less so, and surprisingly Joe Johnson seemingly got the biggest boost last game getting 29 minutes in the matchup. He’s not a great play or anything but it’s something to note. Clint Capela’s been quiet lately so I’m not as curious about him while Trevor Ariza seems like an interesting salary filler with moderate upside to me. Harden’s the be-all end-all here though. Capela has lost some minutes to PJ Tucker’s “Tuckwagon” lineup with him at center…I don’t think Tucker has a ton of upside but he’s the kind of low-cost filler it can be worth having in the mix at a slate this size.
Charlotte Hornets (108.5 implied points, down 5 points on their last 10 games) at Dallas Mavericks (106 implied points, down 1.1 points on their last 10 games)
The decreased totals here are a bummer and a lot of people will likely consider Kemba Walker today after his gigantic 46 real life point game versus Memphis. Dennis Smith is likely back this game but that won’t help stop Kemba too much. What’s more likely to limit his shots of a followup is the return of Dwight Howard, who will bump Kemba’s usage down to a still high but less insane level. Dallas has done a decent job limiting centers this year but Dwight can get to 5x and possibly higher despite the matchup. Jeremy Lamb’s price is up a bit on both sites but he remains playable given his minutes and usage.
Dennis Smith’s return is really interesting against this lax Hornets defense given how much he was shooting the ball before his ankle injury. At his DraftKings $5900 price, I’ll have a lot of him tonight. Dirk Nowitzki is currently questionable and, if he’s out, Dwight Powell would instantly become a lock. Harrison Barnes is a solid and unspectacular play but that lack of sexiness may keep him low owned despite being a very solid B in both value and production in Awesemo’s rankings. Nerlens Noel was a DNP-Coach’s Decision last game due to the return of Salah Mejri and possibly for matchup reasons. Be very careful with him tonight as a Dwight Howard matchup may necessitate Salah playing again.
And there we have it, a really interesting Saturday slate in the books. Follow me @ChrisSpags and let me know how you’re doing with all of this fantasy basketball content on Awesemo.com. I’ll see you guys tomorrow with whatever we’ve got on Sunday!